Think traveling is reserved for the rich and privileged? Think again. If you've been dreaming of visiting your own personal paradise, there are simple strategies you can use to save up and get on that plane faster than you ever imagined.
These six tips will have you packing your bags, booking that trip, and arriving at your dream destination in no time. Get ready for traveling to become a lifestyle, not a luxury.
1. Dream big.
See it, plan it, clip it, post it, and make a visual of your dream vacation, putting these images in a place you will see them—and see them often! (For instance, I love to set photos of exotic destinations as my phone and laptop backgrounds.) Then, turn that that "dream" destination into a reality, telling yourself, "I'm traveling to _______ (insert location) this upcoming _________ (insert date)." Get as specific as possible, planning down to the hotel you'll be staying in and the dates you'll be away.
2. Remember that every bit adds up.
Find small ways to save money, and actually put that extra cash somewhere you can watch it accumulate over time. Since I'm a huge math geek, here are some numbers for you: If you save $5 a day over the course of one year, that's $1,825 in savings. And there are plenty of places you can travel on that budget!
So get creative with ways you can stash some cash. Here are a few kick-starter ideas:
- Skip the afternoon latte and opt for a brisk walk to wake you up instead.
- Cut out memberships you're not using and save that money for your trip instead (three gym memberships won't get you going if one alone doesn't motivate you).
- Eat in one more night each week.
3. Get technical.
There are some incredible apps out there that will actually tell you when the best time is to book your trips. These days, I'm using Hopper, which tells you when to buy and when to wait based on strategic algorithms that track flights and pricing. Another flight favorite is SkySkanner, which lets you view all possible flights, hotels, and car rentals available based on your desired dates and locations, along with an "Explore Top Deals" category.
4. Plan accordingly.
Traveling during off-seasons is a great way to score an amazing deal you might not have otherwise been able to access. Mexico in the summertime can offer some incredibly low pricing (especially now with the peso-to-dollar conversation rate!), along with Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the fall months, Greece, the Mediterranean, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, the Bahamas, and the Florida Keys can showcase cheaper flights and hotel rates.
Pro tip: Call the concierge at the hotel you're looking into and they'll tell you cheap times to visit. After all, they want to book those rooms too!
5. Find alternative transportation methods.
In the final phases of planning, look into your destination's public transportation, including trains, buses, city bikes, and walking trails. Forgoing car rentals is an eco-friendly move that will also save you from high insurance fees, expensive credit card holds, and added tolls and taxes. Most large cities offer plenty of options for public transportation, and these days Uber and other carpooling options are more accessible than ever.
Pro tip: Your hotel may offer transportation from the airport to the resort, but it's typically more than you may pay for a taxi, Uber, or other mode of group transportation. So, do your research!
6. Shop for food.
The flights are paid, the rooms are booked, but that doesn't help with the outflow of money once you've arrived. You still need to stay nourished for all that exploration you'll be doing! Unless you're at an all-inclusive resort, food can get pricey, especially if you're traveling to islands that depend on imports. Instead of eating out for all of your meals, opt to use a grocery store or local market (which may be a fresher alternative anyway!).
Pro tip: If you're looking for a meal to save some serious cash on, make your own breakfast! Seriously, how much can oats and sliced banana really cost you?
In the end, if you want something bad enough, you'll do what it takes to make it happen. Traveling has been an eye, heart, and mind opener for me, allowing me to experience different cultures and meet new people. Life is way too short to only dream of places you want to see. Create your reality, live and travel, freely.